Last year I started with lots of hope. We had just been matched with a birth mom and I was ready to start fundraising and I was hopeful that the Lord would meet all our needs. I was so excited that we were finally going to have a baby after more than a year and a half of waiting.
Not long into January my mom found out that she had a tumor in her one kidney. Due to only having one kidney, she had cancer in the other one as a child and it had been removed, they opted for care through Moffitt Cancer Center. She was blessed to find a doctor that specializes in preserving as much of the kidney as possible. We trusted that God would heal her of cancer and that she would have minimal side effects from the chemo pills she was taking to shrink the tumor.
We continued with our fundraising and had so many successes due to so many caring friends, family and strangers even who bought cards, Perfectly Posh, Pampered Chef, and participated in our Lillebaby carrier raffles.
As the adoption process continued we only met with the birth mom 2 times and I started to have some anxiety as it was so much different from our first adoption. I knew it was a different situation and would not be the same. I was reassured by our adoption agent that this was typical of this birth mom, as she had placed before.
During the majority of the year Jason was working on a major project for work of moving the company he works for to a new office. He was working lots of extra hours and weekends and it added a lot of stress for him and our family.
May came and the due date was growing near. I had a bad feeling that something wasn’t going right and sadly I was proven right. The birth mom didn’t contact the adoption agency when she went into labor and chose to parent. While we knew this was her right to do this, the grief of losing this adoption placement was excruciating. We clung to hope that God’s plan would be greater.
We still pray for that baby that wasn’t placed with us that God would use him in his mom’s life. That he would be a turning point for her in her personal struggles.
Right after the failed placement was the date of my mother’s surgery to remove the tumor. They were happy to report that the tumor had shrunk so they hoped to remove as little as possible of her kidney. She was very blessed that her surgeon was able to remove the whole tumor and only 1/4 of her kidney.
My mother and I had some good time together while she was recovering despite the circumstances. It was also during this time that an acquaintance contacted me stating that she was thinking of placing the baby she was expecting for adoption. I put her in touch with our adoption agency as I knew she needed counseling and help to make the right decision for herself. It was an odd feeling to be hopeful but still feeling so much grief from the failed placement.
After counseling with our agency this woman decided she wanted to place her baby with us for adoption. We seriously couldn’t believe that this was happening so soon after our failed placement. We knew that God’s plan was unfolding.
A couple of weeks after my mother’s surgery she received the results of the lab test on the tumor they removed. There was NO CANCER! We were again astounded at God’s merciful healing.
Since we were matched again and had additional fees for our adoption we started our fundraising again. The Lord used so many people we knew to help us. I sewed babywearing accessories in bulk and had a big sale, sold some of my Usborne stock, had some book parties and did more Lillebaby raffles.
Emotionally I was on autopilot. I was hopeful but still so hurt from the failed placement. It was so much to take in at one time. Jason was still finishing up the move to the new office and was busy with other projects as well.
We met the expectant mom in person at the beginning of September as she lives in a different city than us. It was a great meeting and we felt so much better afterwards. We have had great communication from the beginning and it was so much different from our match that failed which was very reassuring.
Hurricane season started to ramp up here in Florida and we are so thankful that God blessed us by sparing us any serious damage. We were only without electricity for a week but we were able to stay with my parents during that time.
September and October went by so fast. Jason had his big work conference out-of-town and we were trying to squeeze in some extra special times with Mac before the baby was born. He is really into space so we took him to the Kennedy Space Center on the east coast and we had a great time.
We did our last auction and 2 other fundraisers but due to some additional adoption costs we found ourselves still unable to pay the full amount of the placement fee. God heard our prayer and provide a generous family that messaged me and said they wanted to pay what was remaining. It was a huge answer to prayer and we felt like this was another sign that God’s hand was on this adoption process.
I was also working on packing Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes during this time with my friend Amanda. She and I shop all year and so we were trying to get the boxes packed before the baby was born.
On October 23rd I was texting with the expectant mom and she said she was going to the hospital for some tests. I was busy packing shoe boxes and delivering stuff from our auction. Later that night she messaged me to say that they told her she was having contractions but they might send her home. Needless to say she did not get sent home because she had gone into active labor. Our boy was born that night.
Due to being in a different city we weren’t able to be there when he was born but the nurses at this hospital took amazing care of him and his birth mom during the night. We opted to fly to save time and get to our boy faster. We arrived by 9am at the hospital and we were able to hold our boy right after.
The hospital where he was born is very adoption friendly and they gave us our own room and were so kind to us. We were able to visit with the birth mom in her room as well and it was an emotional but amazing time. No words can describe the love of a mother who chooses to place her child. For us with open adoption it is not only the birth of our son but also the birth of a new part of our family because we consider his birth mom a part of it.
When his birth mom was asked to fill out the birth certificate she chose to give him the name we had picked out including our last name : Kenneth James Dupree. We named him Kenneth after my grandfather and brother and James in honor of a great family friend who has been like a grandfather to me.
We had some great time all 4 of us together and we were all discharged and our adoption agent gave us a ride back home since she drove and lives near us.
The time since we arrived home has been like a dream. To have our son home with us and to have great open communication with his birth mom.
Looking back it is easy to say that 2017 was a hard year. There was a lot of pain and uncertainty. It is easy to focus on the sad things that happened. But when I think about the year as a whole I see God’s redemption and His provision in our lives. He gave us so much. Yes there was pain and grief but He was with us through it all. He provided more than we could ask or think. So while I looking forward to 2018, I will forever think of 2017 as the year that God redeemed.